Over the past week or so, the internet has gotten itself sprung on a young weightlifter named Samantha Wright. The petite 22-year-old has a bleached blond pixie cut, huge crystal blue eyes, and a thick line of black liquid eyeliner trailing out over each lid.
In other words, she’s adorable.
And that’s awesome.
See, when young women like Wright to break into sports that are traditionally considered masculine, like weightlifting, they challenge basic stereotypes about women; specifically, that the way we look means anything about what we are and are not capable of. Why, just last week Joseph Gordon-Levitt said that pretty girls can’t be funny. Olivia Munn famously got skewered for being good-looking and getting hired on “The Daily Show.”
The world, for whatever reason, seems intent on clinging to the notion that women are either cute or capable, funny or pretty, sexy or smart. But of course, as those of us with a vagina know, that’s a bunch of bullshit.
The message is not that we should all try to look adorable. The message is that we should be able to look any way we want, and under the umbrella of looking any way you want is deciding that you want to bleach your hair blond and wear make-up. Or shave your head and pierce your face. Or doll yourself up like a pageant queen. The point is that the way women look — whether we’re going for traditionally pretty or very happily bucking mainstream notions of beauty — does not, and should not, have any implications about what we can achieve.
And it takes women like Samantha Wright to help drive that point home.
Photos by Kait Privitera